reviews

  • Walker Evans, Sidewalk Display, 1957, 35-mm slide. Originally published in Fortune, October 1958. © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Walker Evans

    Centre Pompidou

    IN 1971, on the eve of his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Walker Evans declared, “A document has use, whereas art is really useless. Therefore art is never a document, though it certainly can adopt that style.” This articulation of what Evans famously called “documentary style” helps situate the artist as a progenitor of both the new “social landscape” photographers and Conceptual artists using photography, who during the 1960s turned to the aesthetics of utilitarian pictures. Yet Evans’s definition also points to the continual semantic problems that arise when applying

    Read more
  • Sturtevant, Study for Muybridge Plate #136, 1966, twelve black-and-white photographs, glue, black paper, graphite, 8 5/8 × 6 1/2".

    Sturtevant

    Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac | Marais

    The viewer of Sturtevant’s photographs hardly need be told they are hers to realize something is awry. In images seemingly familiar from the oeuvres of Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, and Eadweard Muybridge, Sturtevant is seen striking the poses we know so well, or striding along in recognizable apparel like Beuys’s full-length fur-lined coat—or in the nude. As if this twist of the already-known wasn’t discomfiting enough, she also used techniques of collage, montage, cropping, and multiplication to unsettle habitual modes of perception. For instance, a peephole-shaped photograph of her own

    Read more
  • Tiziana La Melia, Je ne sais quoi, 2016–17, oil and aluminum powder on canvas, ink on wooden artist frame, 24 3/8 × 20 7/8".

    Tiziana La Melia

    Galerie Anne Barrault

    Spanning adjacent walls and gently grazing the gallery floor, Tiziana La Melia’s panoramic canvas Broom Emotion, 2017, hung unstretched, like a backdrop to the rest of her eponymous solo exhibition, her first in France. Black arabesques and graffiti-like script emerged from this abstract work, saturated with pools of purple, yellow, pink, and brown—that is, watercolor, red wine, and instant coffee. A thin layer of sand covered the gallery’s terrazzo floor, while ostrich-size chalk eggs and purple sachets of white dragées were arranged atop fragrant bales of hay. A garden arch, covered with

    Read more